16 Oct 2013

The world's first commercial video recorder. Spoiler: it's bigger than a smartphone

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The world's first commercial video recorder The world's first commercial video recorder Retrothing/ RedShark

You wouldn't want one of these in your living room

There's a lovely site called Retrothing that is perfect for a wet Sunday afternoon read. It's all about the greatness of recent, and not so recent, technology.

There's not much you can say about this Ampex machine, the VRX-1000, except that it was a groundbreaking device: the first to sport rotating heads to give a high head-to-tape speed even though the linear speed of the tape was manageably low.

It was, or course, the ancestor to generations of domestic and professional video recorders, and it's a technology that's only been replaced in the last decade, to the relief of many, but with more than a tinge of sadness too.

Retrothing also points out hat the guy on the far right of the picture is Ray Dolby, who was a co-inventor of the technology. He died on September 12th this year, but will be remembered much more, we suspect, for making Compact Cassette tapes sound much less terrible.

RedShark News Staff

Written by RedShark's News Team

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